Friday, October 22, 2010

Unknown Vintage Lap Steel


This is a really cool vintage lap steel guitar that looks to be home made...in every single aspect. Not only is every part of the body hand made, but even the pickup and pickup cover were probably put together from scratch in someone's garage a long time ago. Oh, and the case is also home made with some really nice hand painted flower motifs. Yep, this is one very cool instrument.

Much like the pedal steel guitar I most recently wrote about, I found this instrument in a pawn shop while I was driving across the country on vacation. My goal was to find a few instruments along the way that I could bring home and sell for a profit. I really thought this one was going to be more profitable than it turned out to be, but you can't win them all. I did turn a profit, but not a huge one.

I found this lap steel as I was driving down Main Street in Henryetta, Oklahoma...which also happens to be my parents' old hometown.

I was headed to the home of an old friend of my father's and missed the turn. Glad I did. As I was craning my neck, trying to read the street signs I passed the pawn shop. Looked almost empty to be honest. But right there in the window was this lap steel. Seven string lap steel to be exact. I went inside and inquired about the $175 price tag and the haggling began. We ended up at $120 and were both happy with that. I pulled out my credit card and was told "cash only." Luckily I had a few bucks on me and the deal was done. As we chatted about how unique this lap steel was we discovered that the owner of the shop knew my parents from way back when. How cool is that? He showed me another lap steel that was still in pawn that was really cool as well but just not for sale yet. Wish I could go back for that one.

So as far as I can tell, this lap steel is made of solid mahogany, has seven strings, all the parts are hand carved or cut, and the designs on the lap steel itself are old water decals. There is a 1/4" jack on the very end and no volume or tone knobs. I guess you just have to use a volume pedal. The case was also hand made and the artwork on the case was all hand painted. Very nice slice of Americana really. The old Stevens slide bar and metal fingerpicks were also included.

I put it up for sale on eBay and it sold for only $175. I have to admit I was a little disappointed...almost wish for that price I had kept it. But that's not why I bought it in the first place...I have learned my lesson about lap steels. I always think I want one and then, once I buy one, I realize I have no business trying to play it. I'm glad someone got such a cool instrument for their collection. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did in the short time I had it.
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